Evolution Of The Web And Technology In Education

I was reading some “back and forth”  on  Classroom 2., a great social network where those in education discuss the impact of Web 2. in education. Whilst reading some thoughts, I had stumbled across this fascinating video on where the web will be going. Even though, a little outdated but yet visionary,  I discovered this video by the Dutch feel tank EPN, type of cool. It got me thinking about where the web has been , where it is now and where it is going.

The very first incarnation of the web was composed of static internet sites that linked to each other and search engines to aid you come across websites of interest. Web 2. brought a social element to the web, with users sharing, commenting, and interacting via internet sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr. The future web, the “semantic web,” or Web 3., will embed meaning within digital details so that any given page can be understood by computers, smart phones and appliances as well as people.

The question is how does education use the web to create new channels of learning.  As a software developer that worked in the higher education space, I believe technology and the students who use it will drive how institutions respond to it. Web 2. is a normal thing for today’s students. They do not fear it nor do they look at it with trepidation. It is simply how they do life.  In other words, the future of learning will be determined by students. The future of learning is really a fascinating topic.

Even Bill Gates at the Techonomy conference gave a prediction for education in the next five years.  Where will education be? Digital learning.  Yes, there will still be schools, universities and college classrooms but “Five years from now on the web for free of charge you’ll be able to find the very best lectures in the world…It will be much better than any single university”. Gates pointed out that where students discover is often discounted – or not counted at all.  On the internet lectures could not count for students even though they learned much more depth and breadth than sitting in a single lecture.   So where does digital learning play into the field of education?  Everywhere from textbooks and tests to labs and lectures.

According to Gates, our text books are 3 times longer than the equivalents in Asia. And yet they’re beating us in numerous ways with education. The difficulty is that these things are built by committee, and far more things are simply added on top of what’s already in there. Gates said that technology is the only way to bring education back under control and expand it.

I believe in 2011 and moving forward, institutions  have to be innovative. I feel they have to invent what teaching looks like in the future With all the tools that Web 2. and Web three. afford us,  learning will no longer just be an authoritative figure standing in a classroom lecturing. Learning will be a lot more participatory. The look of the classroom will and can be different when all the students can be in many different physical locations.

As software developers in the higher education space, we need to be in the fore front of this innovation.  There are businesses already making use of “new” technology to help higher education. 1 excellent example of this is Mongoose Research.  Mongoose Research is a leading edge organization out of  Buffalo New York that uses targeted texting campaigns to support colleges and universities with recruitment. According to their website: “Text is the new e-mail. iPhones are the new status symbol. Facebook is the new pizza parlor. So, you can either change how you talk with your audiences, or you can lose their attention.”

Even though their focus is much more recruitment based, I do like their mindset when it comes to the use of technology in education. “You can either change how you talk with your audiences, or you can lose their attention”

Get on board schools . Its that basic.

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